Natural Moral Law

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  • Created by: LeFay
  • Created on: 26-02-14 19:18

WHAT IS NATURAL MORAL LAW?

  • Absolute theory of ethics but is not rooted in duty, or in an externally imposed law, but in our human nature and our search for genuine happiness and fulfilment.
  • By using reason to reflect on our human nature, we could discover our specific end telos or purpose and, having discovered this, we could then work out how to achieve it. 

THE ORIGINS OF NATURAL LAW

  • First appeared among the Stoics
    • believed God is everywhere and in everyone.
    • Humans have within them a divine spark which helps them find out how to live according to the will of God, or in other words to live according to nature.

THE NATURAL LAW OF THOMAS AQUINAS

1. Human beings have an essential rational nature given by God in order for us to live and flourish.

2. Even without knowledge of God, reason can discover the laws that lead to human flourishing.

3. The Natural Laws are universal and unchangable and should be used to judge the laws of particular societies.

THE PURPOSE OF HUMAN BEINGS

  • Humans are made "in the image of God" and so the supreme good must be the development of this image - perfection.
  • This perfection is not possible in this life.
  • Eternal law: 
    • The principles by which God made and controls the universe which are only fully known by God.
  • Divine law:
    • The bible - this reflects the Eternal Law.
  • Natural law:
    • The theory that an eternal, absolute moral law can be discovered by reason.
  • Human law:
    • The laws by which we govern our society.

NATURAL INCLINATIONS

  • The most fundamental inclination is to act in such a way as to achieve good and avoid evil.
  • Humans do get things wrong by following apparent goods - something we think is good but in reality does not fit the perfect human ideal.
  • In order to work out what is a real good and what is an apparent good we need to use our reason correctly and choose the right thing to do. 
  • When humans act in accordance with their true nature, they act in accordance with their final purpose, so both the intention (interior act) and act (exterior act) are important and need to be correct. 
  • Acts were good or…

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